Illegal content can range from child porn to copyright infringement, but it will carry the same penalty in the E.U. — remove it within an hour or the fines start. These rules the European Commission will post next month for review will have plenty of American eyes on them, too.
Much like GDPR, which had an effective date of May 25, U.S. publishers and tech companies may want to be aware of the illegal content rules in the E.U. considering California quickly acted in a similar manner to GDPR’s data privacy practices. Greg Sterling writes yesterday in Marketing Land that the content regulations will need to be approved by the European Parliament, then the E.U. member states. They resulted from the publishers and tech companies not adequately regulating themselves, per the E.U. rules, he writes.
While in the U.S., tech companies don’t define themselves as media companies, they’re seeing public sentiment that shows the fake news and Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandals reflect consumers’ belief that Facebook, for instance, is a media company to them. So the move in the E.U. may be one for U.S. tech companies to watch, too.
Sterling writes that in the E.U., regardless of whether the content is hosted by a publisher or a tech company, fines will begin within an hour once the rule about illegal content is enacted regarding “terrorist content, incitement to hatred and violence, child sexual abuse material, counterfeit products and copyright infringement.”
The Financial Times headline from Sunday is more vague: “EU tech regulation: Brussels to act against tech groups on terror content — Threat of fines after commission sees insufficient progress on voluntary action.”
Sterling says the illegal content will see fines regardless of the site’s size or traffic. He adds:
“Copyright infringement is an area of enforcement that could turn out to be highly problematic and have a negative impact on speech. Europe has no ‘fair use’ defense to claims of copyright infringement, and the new rules could potentially chill satire and political criticism.
“Still to be worked out: What constitutes notice and what the financial penalties would be. And who gets to interpret whether the content violates the rules?”
[Author’s note: The U.S. does allow fair use of content for, for instance, news purposes such as this. Once content enters the profit realm, such as for marketing purposes, copyright enforcement gets stricter.]
What do you think, marketers?
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